• Max Pechstein

    Max Hermann Pechstein (December 31, 1881 - June 29, 1955), was a German expressionist painter and printmaker, born in Zwickau.

    Early contact with the art of Vincent Van Gogh stimulated his development toward expressionism. After studying art in Dresden, Pechstein met Erich Heckel and joined the art group Die Brücke in 1906. He was the only member to have formal art training. Later in Berlin, he helped to found the Neue Sezession and gained recognition for his decorative and colorful paintings that were lent from the ideas of Van Gogh, Matisse, and the Fauves. His paintings eventually became more primitive, incorporating thick black lines and angular figures.

    Beginning in 1933, Pechstein was attacked by the Nazis because of his art. 326 of his paintings were removed from German museums. 16 of his works were displayed in the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition of 1937. During this time, Pechstein went into seclusion in rural Pomerania.

    He was a prolific printmaker, producing 421 lithographs, 315 woodcuts and linocuts, and 165 intaglio prints, mostly etchings.

    Pechstein was a professor at the Berlin Academy for ten years before his dismissal by the Nazis in 1933. He was reinstated in 1945, and subsequently won numerous titles and awards for his work.


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  • Posters:

    Max Pechstein ( Don't Strangle Our New Born Freedom), 1919
    Rudi Feld ( The Danger of Bolshevism), ca.1919


    The Between War Years

    As the 1st World War drew to it's bitter end, hunger and despair were rife throughout Germany. Military defeat and economic collapse were making
    themselves felt.
    Deserting soldiers roamed the streets and added to the chaos. The country was ripe for change.
    On November 9, 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II fled to Holland, and a few days later
    announced his abdication.
    The stage was set for a revolution that would replace the old regime with a system in which the leaders were responsible to parliament.
    A coalition government of the moderate Social Democratic party and the more radical independent Social Democrats was set up.
    Elections were called for january 1919. In the intervening period many artist's become Politically active, some for the first time, trying to stimulate action, strengthen opinions, or alter the social conscience.
    Posters were the visual weapons in the struggle of the working class against the rich.
    In marked contrast to the censorship that had been so strictly enforced during the Kaiser's reign, German cities now become a riot of colors and slogans as strident messages covered every available wall space.

    MMaxi


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  • Although Grosz was a member of the November-gruppe for a short time, the majority of his searing commentaries on Weimar society and its rampant corruption were created outside the group framework.
    Like Dix, Grosz had enlisted for military service despite his marked antiwar sentiments.
    His experiences soon reconfirmed his horror of combat, and following an honorable discharge in 1915 he began chronicling his abhorrence of Berlin society.
    His vocabulary of chaotic scenes of crime and passion, of obscene officers, injured soldiers, and leering prostitutes in dark streets was increased and sharpened by his observations during the war and afterwards.
    He created a veritable cascade of paintings, prints, portfolios, illustrated books, and illustrations for radical periodicals, such as Die Aktion.
    A painting like Selfbstmord ( Suicide ) probably reflects the artist state of mind following his release from the army.

    MMaxi


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  • The Expressionism movement in Germany embraces stylistic phenomena as disparate as the first abstract watercolors painted by Wassily Kandinsky around 1910 and the almost realist social driticism of the art of the Weimar period.
    One has only to think of Conrad Felixmuller.
    This in itself shows that Expressionism was not just a national stylistic phenomenon.
    It was in fact a higly complex movement of cultural protest, wich sought to overturn the prevailing aestethic and social values on a universal scale.
    It's purely stylistic charecteristics - however strong its predilection for sharp angles, distortions of form, or strong contrasts of color - remained secondary.
    The common features that can be identified within its enormous formal diversity are more a matter of content: specifically they spring from its critique of contemporary civilization.
    it was precisely when Expressionism began to use stereotyped formulas that its impulse began to wane, like that of a solidifying stream of Lava.

    MMaxi


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  • Der Schaubunder, 1921


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